Coconut sugar is growing in popularity because there are many people who claim it is a very healthy alternative to other types of sugar. More and more people are choosing to give up sugar in their diet. But as the craving for sweets remains, we are looking for substitutes, healthier options. And one of the latest on the market is coconut sugar.
What is coconut sugar and how is it obtained?
Coconut sugar comes from a natural source, ie from coconut palm or coconut tree. This type of sugar has various names, such as:
- coconut sugar;
- coconut flower nectar (liquid form);
- coconut flower sugar.
Regardless of the name, this type of sugar comes from the processing of sap or nectar that circulates through the coconut tree, like maple syrup. In the past, in order to harvest coconut sap, farmers made sections at the bud level so that the precious liquid could drain.
To make the syrup, they mixed the juice obtained with water and boiled it until the desired product was obtained. Today’s producers make granulated coconut sugar by letting the nectar dry and crystallize. The pieces obtained are subsequently broken, obtaining the granules recognized by most people.
Coconut sugar has an appearance and texture similar to that of raw raw sugar, but there may be several natural variants that have different fluctuations in color and size. Some people may confuse coconut sugar with palm sugar. Even though the production process is similar, palm sugar comes from processing another type of tree.
The finished product has a brown color and is granular. It resembles brown sugar, but the particle size is smaller and more uneven. In addition, the color can vary from light cream to dark brown.
Coconut sugar: nutritional values
Although it tastes good, coconut sugar has a low glycemic index (between 35 and 54) and contains a small amount of fructose, about 40%.
If we talk about calories, a teaspoon of coconut sugar has, on average, about 20 calories, and as a nutritional value it is not very rich, unlike honey, for example. However, it has minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, but also vitamins, especially from the B complex, antioxidants and polyphenols. However, the amount of minerals and vitamins is quite small, insufficient to cover the daily requirement of vitamins and minerals.
The benefits of consuming coconut sugar
- It does not increase blood sugar and does not cause fluctuations in its serum level, because on the one hand it has a low glycemic index and a low amount of carbohydrates, and on the other hand it contains inulin, a dietary fiber that helps regulate blood sugar (slows absorption glucose in the body);
- Coconut sugar can be consumed, according to the doctor’s recommendations, by people with chronic diseases: diabetes, pancreatic diseases, intestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc. However, because it contains fructose, a “sugar” metabolized in the liver, the consumption of this sugar may be restricted in some liver diseases.
- Coconut sugar can be consumed by the pregnant woman;
- It is a good ally of the intestinal microbiota, containing fibers with prebiotic properties, feeding some good bacteria from the digestive system;
- It can be useful in preventing gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, especially when coconut sugar accompanies a healthy and balanced diet;
- It has antioxidant properties;
- It is energizing and can be used as an adjunct in the diet and treatment of depression or anxiety;
- It does not overload the pancreas, having a low glycemic index;
- Due to its low calorie content, it can be consumed by people on a weight loss diet;
- It helps the nervous and immune system to function optimally, through its diverse content of amino acids;